2024 CSA sign-up announcement

Feb. 18, 2024

CSA Sign Up is Open!

The first pepper seedlings have sprouted in the greenhouse, the garlic is popping up in the field and even the rhubarb began to appear during the early February warm up.  All these signs say spring is near (or already here?), which means we are officially opening sign-up for the 2024 Blue Stone Farm CSA! 

Our Community Supported Agriculture program is a mutual relationship between farmers and eaters: we at the farm work hard to sustainably produce great-tasting, nutritious food for you to enjoy, while you provide a season-long financial commitment that allows us to keep going.  Your support of our farm and our goal of sustainability, particularly during the early days of the season (when we are buying seeds and supplies for the year but not yet harvesting crops to sell), makes a huge difference in getting our growing season off to a solid beginning and continually motivating us with your appreciation throughout the year.  Your commitment is rewarded every week with a share of the freshest, tastiest harvest around.

Our CSA is meant to be flexible in meeting your family’s tastes and budget, so you select the types of food you receive each week as well as the level of annual support that best fits your situation.  There are 24 weeks in the season, so a share of $500 provides about $20 worth of produce each week, which translates to about 4-6 items such as:

  • a bag of spinach, box of sunflower microgreens, sugar snap peas and bunches of radishes and green onions
  • a bag of salad mix, bunch of carrots, dozen eggs, cucumber, and quart of green beans
  • a bag of arugula, quart of heirloom tomatoes, bag of basil, fresh garlic and zucchini
  • lacinato kale, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, beets, and butternut squash
  • There are lots of other veggies and combinations beyond these examples, for a list of all the crops we grow throughout the year, see our website

You choose only the veggies you like each week; if your household is smaller or you will be on vacation for a few weeks, you can select a smaller share size.   You may pay for your share now by mailing us a check (or online here), or at the first pick-up date in early May.  If you would like to break up your payments, let us know and we will be happy to set that up.

We ask that  you take a few minutes to sign up right now, regardless of whether you plan to pay soon or in May.  Last year 95% of members renewed their share, and we added a number of new members.  With such wonderful loyalty we do not expect to have many additional openings this season.  By letting us know your plans now, we can save your spot and decide how many new members to accept.  Click here to sign up by providing your contact information and desired share size in this form.  We have two options for pick-up location: 1) at our farm in Otsego on Tuesdays or 2) at the Texas Township Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.  We have greater room for new members on Tuesdays, so if you have friends in the Otsego/Plainwell area that might be interested, please let them know!  A few more details about how the CSA works are here.

Our farm slogan is sustainable, local, delicious.  Sustainability can be a vague term, so we are Certified Naturally Grown to independently and transparently verify our strong commitment to the practice of sustainable agriculture.  Here are some examples of these principles and the systems and methods we have put into place to work toward an ecologically sound farm:

  • Soil health- we focus on maintaining and enhancing the unseen soil ecosystem that does the real work of growing our crops: we minimize disturbance of the soil with no-till methods, never use pesticides or herbicides (which kill soil microbe and insect populations), build soil organic matter and fertility with compost and cover crops.
  • Biological diversity– we grow and rotate a large variety of crops, unlike conventional monocultures, provide space and habitat for non-crop plants to build soil and support pollinator insects, maintain a diverse set of habitats for birds and wildlife on our 12-acre farm including forest and grassland.
  • Climate consciousness and resilience– minimal production of greenhouse gasses through the use of mainly human-powered tools, maximizing soil carbon storage with no-till methods, increase the use of high tunnels to limit the damage done by severe rainstorms, build drought and flood resistance with healthy organic soils, no long-distance shipping of produce.
  • Ecological pest management- use of row cover fabric to exclude pests in lieu of pesticides, time plantings to avoid peak insect outbreaks, encourage beneficial birds and insects as predators of pests, use cover crops, stale bed techniques and manual cultivation to reduce weed pressure in lieu of herbicides.
  • Community vitality– exclusively grow for local consumption to help develop a healthy local food system, hire young people interested in learning about and participating in ecological food production, encourage the use of programs such as SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks to provide nutritious food to all community members, foster improved local water, soil and air quality.
  • Economic viability– sustain the livelihood of our small family farm, produce the highest quality food at affordable prices, work with and grow the network of local farmers seeking to develop a more sustainable local food system.

We are proud that the NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service) Conservation Stewardship Program awarded us a grant last year to recognize and further our sustainability efforts.  This grant allowed us to build a new high tunnel this past fall and will provide funds to enhance our use of cover crops and further develop native prairie/ pollinator habitat on our land.

This will be the 12th year of our CSA program.  We always strive to learn more, refine and improve our growing practices, and produce the highest quality food possible for you.   We are grateful for the continued support of our members – some of whom have been with us since the earliest days! – and look forward to welcoming new ones.   Please let us know if you have any questions about all this – we would love to talk more with you (email or call 269 251-1418).  We are excited to get growing and will see you in just a few weeks!

Mark and Brenda Cowell